A Working Girl Can't Win

A Working Girl Can't Win

A Working Girl Can't Win

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Nov. 20 1997 3:30 AM

A Working Girl Can't Win

Is this the birth of a pundit
or a slut? Is she the woman
they courted for her youthful edge
or a kiss-and-tell bimbo,
a careerist coquette?
The loyal daughter to spin doctors
losing their hair or soul sister
to feminist essayists everywhere?
Is her meteoric rise the source
of her potential demise?
Is her worldview equal parts
yuppie whine and new-age rumor?
Can we get a biopsy on her latest
breast tumor? Is she a failed
anorexic, or diet-pill faddist
who'll let it all go and get fat
in her fifties? Are her roots
rural, right-leaning? Is she Jewish,
self-hating? Past her sell-by date,
or still ovulating?
Will her husband talk?
Does he mind her success?
Does anyone know--does he see
her undressed? Has she been
photographed? Will she play
truth or dare? And more to the point,
does anyone care?
Come next year, will the masses
be reading her story? Will she be
on the cover, or well past her glory?
Either way, we'll move on, and she'll tire
before long: only her children will grieve
at the way she was wronged.

Deborah Garrison's first collection of poems, A Working Girl Can't Win, will be published by Random House in February.